This is a short list of the most useful information that we have found travellers need. In addition, at the time of confirming your trip we will send you a detailed booklet with more information on these and other topics, and ways to best prepare for your visit.
We have divided this page into two sections:-
1) How we look after you while you are in India
2) General questions about travelling to and through India
We welcome your emails and calls at any time if you require any further information. You can find us through the Contact Us page.
How we look after you…
How is Indian Panorama different from a typical Indian tour operator?
There are some crucial areas in which Indian Panorama differs from other tour operators in India. In the planning stages of your trip, through your initial arrival and transfers, your transport and travel arrangements and the way we deal with any problems you may encounter, we offer an unparalleled level of service and professionalism at every stage.
How do I plan my trip with you?
All of our itineraries can be customised to whatever degree you wish, indeed this is where our knowledge and experience help us to stand apart.
The pre-designed itineraries we offer are found on the Tour Options page. These are all tried and tested over more than a decade of operations in India. If one of these programmes looks right for you, all you need to do is contact us and once we have your arrival dates and a little more information, we can proceed with a booking straight away.
You may find however that with the vast array of travel options in India you would like to visit other centres, take a little more time in one place or less in another, or indulge in another area of interest altogether. In this case please contact us to discuss the ideas you have.
What happens when I arrive in India?
One of the ways in which Indian Panorama will help make your trip to India easier is to have our representatives assist you to make all your transfers. You will be met at the airport by one of our professional team who will be carrying a placard bearing your name. The same standard of care will be afforded you whenever you make an internal connection by air or rail and again on your final departure from India.
What modes of travel do you use?
There are many ways to get around in this vast country. We use whichever combination of travel modes best suits your itinerary. Some of these are listed below:
Private Car with Driver
The best way to see India is by road — you are close to life the way the locals live it and you will have the best opportunities to stop, engage and interact with the people as you make your way through cities, towns, villages and rural landscapes. The pace of travel on our tours is never rushed — we believe you will see far more, and enjoy yourself more, taking time to properly explore India rather than rushing through merely stopping at the ‘photo op’ sites. India’s roads are quite different from the west. The highways and byways of the country are far more than just a way to get from A to B — life itself is on display along the roadside. Travel averages around 40 kilometres an hour and we tailor our tours to include no more than 6 hours driving in any one day, unless it is unavoidable.
We value our drivers as they add many levels to your travel experience, they pass on feedback about hotels, new places etc.
They are not licensed guides and cannot take you inside monuments or temples to give detailed explanations.
It is usual for drivers to sleep in the car, they get an overnight allowance but most choose to sleep in the car rather than take a room. They feel it is a good security cover for the car and they are also onsite if you need any assistance.
Various types of vehicles are available — we will recommend the appropriate one for the number of people travelling in your party.
Most travel in India runs smoothly and with a minimum of hassle for you. In the unlikely event of problems occurring, our drivers have either a mobile phone or quick access to communication with any of our offices to enable difficulties to be overcome and allow you to get on with your holiday.
Over the past few years budget air travel has emerged in India — this is a great boon to the visitor. Previously the only way to cover long distances was by train which could easily eat up several days of your valuable holiday time. It is now possible to fly between all the major places of interest with ease, meaning you can cover several parts of the country in a shorter period of time. This does not necessarily need to be expensive.
One of the world’s largest employers, Indian Railways is more than just an extremely well run business — it is part of the lifeblood of India. Train travel is another wonderful option for part of your journey through the country. From the famous Nilgiri mountain railway in Tamil Nadu to the Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan, the diversity of rail options is a great as that of India herself. If you take an overnight ‘sleeper’ journey, bedding is provided.
The ubiquitous yellow and black auto rickshaw (or just “auto”) is as much a part of the life of the country as cricket, chapatti and Sadhus. Best enjoyed over short distances, auto travel is a sure way to get close to life on the street in any town or city. You may have almost as much fun bargaining over your fare as in the actual trip itself.
Travelling to and through India…
Do I need a Visa to enter India?
All visitors to India require a Visa which MUST be obtained before arrival in the country. The usual visa is valid for 6 months from the time of issue and is good for multiple entries to the country. Visas are issued by all Indian embassies and consulates and can take up to 2 weeks to process.
What Immunisations do I need before visiting India?
Check with your doctor — recommended vaccinations for travel to India include Hepatitis A/B and Tetanus. We do not recommend taking malaria medication — the disease is now virtually non-existent in areas tourists will visit — sadly, the same cannot be said for mosquitoes which are still widespread.
What is the climate like and what is the best time to visit?
India has a vast range of climatic conditions from tropical in the south to alpine in the north. Most of the country outside the Himalaya region is at its best for travel between October and March. At this time, days are mild to warm, nights comfortable and rain (expect in the south east) is very rare. From April onwards the humidity level rises with the temperatures and with the onset of the monsoon in June travel can be difficult in places. The advantages of travel outside the peak season are reduced tariffs, and fewer tourists. At virtually any time of the year, some part of India or other will be suitable to visit.
Is all Indian food very spicy?
No. India is justly famous for some of the world’s best food and here you can enjoy it in all its glory. Food hygiene standards in hotels and resorts are now near world class and a few sensible precautions will minimise any chance of getting sick. As you travel around you can safely eat at small local restaurants along the way. If you wish to eat Chinese or Continental style cuisine, this is available at mid range to deluxe hotels throughout the country.
What extra costs will I incur while I am in India?
We try to make our tour prices as ‘inclusive’ as possible so you will not be surprised with extra ‘hidden’ costs as you go along. A meal can cost anything from Rs50 in a roadside eatery to Rs1,500+ in a luxury hotel. How much you will spend depends on your own tastes of course, but if you allow Rs150 per person for lunches and Rs300 for dinners you will eat very well. Shopping in India is legendary and with good reason. Beautiful and unique handicrafts and art works can be purchased from a few hundred rupees upwards, with virtually no upper limit provided you are willing to pay for items to be shipped back to your home address.
What about tipping?
From the moment you arrive you will see that India runs on tipping, from the person who carries your bag, delivers your food or drives your vehicle. Wages are generally very low and most people in service industries make the bulk of their living by tips. For a room boy who carries your bags to the room a 10–20 Rupee tip is fine. A similar amount is OK for the boys who come and clean your room. In restaurants work on 10% and the tip will be reasonable. There is no set amount as is the case in other countries.
Will I get sick?
Staying healthy in India is really just a matter of common sense. Some people may find that their body takes a few days to adjust to the different foods but generally if you observe a few simple rules like only drinking bottled water and eating freshly cooked foods you will probably find that after a short time in India you feel better than you have in years!
What about my Personal Security?
The safest way to carry your tickets, passport and travellers cheques is in a money belt worn under your clothing. India is generally a safe place and you would be extremely unlucky to have anything stolen. It is wise to take precautions and always be alert. Small amounts of money can be carried in a bumbag or shoulder purse. This ensures you do not need to pull out a pile of 100Rs notes for a 10Rs purchase. All hotel rooms have secure locks and some people prefer to leave their suitcase locked inside the room. For air and train travel your bag should be securely locked. It is a good idea to carry a photocopy of your passport, visa and tickets and the serial numbers of your traveller’s cheques. If you are unlucky enough to lose any of these valuable items it will greatly assist in replacement.